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Good morning TBC’ers! Today I will be demonstrating a new surface command in TBC v5.30: the create surface intersection lines command. The create surface intersection lines command is used to create linestrings at the intersection of two surfaces. To open the command, navigate to the surfaces ribbon, and hit “Surface Intersect Lines” under create:


In the create surface intersection lines command pane, make any changes in the line settings field as necessary. You can enter in a name, choose your layer, and adjust the line style, scale, and color. The name field is optional; if you do enter a name, all intersection lines will have the same name. Next, in the surfaces group, select two intersecting surfaces for which you want to create linestrings. Now we are ready to click apply:


We can see the resulting linestrings in black (or whatever color you chose in your input settings) by zooming into the plan view or 3D view:


Turning off our surfaces in the view filter manager can give us a clearer view of the resulting linestrings as well:


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with surfaces in TBC!

“Trimble Business Center (TBC) or Trimble Realworks (TRW)? Which of these scanning solutions best suits our needs?” -  I'm sure if you work with point cloud applications, you may have wondered this same exact question. It can be difficult to distinguish between the advantages of using one solution over the other, and that's why the TBC team along with the TRW team has created a comparison document which goes over the functionality of the two software to help us better understand the strengths and differences between TBC and TRW. 


For those who are not familiar with Trimble Realworks, it is a scanning software specifically designed for point cloud data processing and analysis. The software provides a complete solution to efficiently register, analyze, model, and create deliverables using point cloud data from virtually any source. 


To find this document, lets navigate to the TRW webpage via this link :


Then lets navigate to the bottom of the page where we can find the “TBC-TRW Comparison for Scanning Workflows”: 




Then in the document we can see the comparison between 11 topics of : 





In each of the topics, we can compare which software supports which formats/workflows and more !





and if you prefer to listen to two experts of TBC and TRW compare the two software when it comes to different applications, checkout our YouTube channel for the following playlist !



If you have not done so already, this is the perfect time to get a free 30 day demo license to TRW (by contacting your nearest Trimble dealer) to check out these features for yourself ! 


Hope this tip comes in handy the next time you are wondering whether to use Trimble RealWorks or Trimble Business Center ! 

In case you missed our live webinar, we've broken out each of the eleven comparison topics between Trimble Business Center and Trimble RealWorks into a new playlist on YouTube.


Reference these short clips or review the entire comparison document to learn which software package is better suited for your survey scanning or production scanning workflows.

Check out TBC's new white paper - Understanding and Applying Scale Factors in Scanning Workflows in TBC - to learn more about scale factors, the need for scale factors across multiple survey sensors, and how TBC brings each together into a single project. This paper is an excellent resource for both beginners and experts to learn more about scale factors in theory and how TBC uses them to position and align data in practice!


Available in PDF here -


There's also a new YouTube video explaining the improved point cloud import menu for v5.30 posted -

Good afternoon TBC’ers! Have you ever wanted to be able to easily extract the poles within your point cloud dataset? Well, today I will be demonstrating the new automatic pole batch extraction workflow in TBC v5.30. Prior to extracting poles from your scan data, load in the global features FXL (or a feature library of your own) file from your project settings:


I recommend classifying your point cloud with the classify regions tool (under the point cloud ribbon) prior to pole extraction to aid the software in pole detection:

Next, from the point clouds ribbon, navigate to the extract point feature command under deliverables:

Within the extract point feature command pane, change the extraction type to pole and select automatic. You can open the automatic pole extraction settings to enter in a minimum pole height. This newly enhanced feature will allow the software to exclude poles that fall below your specified height during the feature extraction:


You can also add in a global feature code to assign pole attributes since we loaded in our global features FXL file prior to running the extraction. Adding a feature code will make our pole diameters and height editable after the extraction: 


Once our input settings are changed, we can hit the extract pole attributes button to run the pole batch extraction:

When the pole extraction is complete, we can perform a quality assurance check in the 3D view. A travelling salesman path appears in green to simplify the QA/ QC process. The travelling salesman path allows us to validate each extracted pole individually:


We can zoom into a pole that we want to start the QA/ QC process on and mark it so we know when we have completed the QA/ QC loop. A pole will change from pink to white to indicate that we have marked it:


We can continue making our way around the travelling salesman path with the left and right key buttons (1). We can block out surrounding noise with the limit box to provide a clearer view of an individual pole (2). The button all the way to the right turns the travelling salesman path on and off (3):

After matching the attributes from our feature code to attributes we are extracting - in this case pole diameter and pole height - we can manually adjust the pole diameter and height by highlighting the pole diameter or height box, then coming back to the 3D view to measure a new value:


We can also hit the ignore button if the extract point feature command misclassified an object or noise as a pole:

Once all of our poles are validated, we can hit the add button at the bottom of the extract point feature command pane.


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are looking to extract features from your point cloud data! 

With the release of 5.30, you may have noticed that the ‘Extract Ground’ command is no longer in the point cloud ribbon ! You may be wondering if it's gone and if so, did you lose the ability to automatically extract the ground with the scanning module ? well the short answer is a simple ‘no’, the functionality still exists within the scanning module and in this tip, I will show you how to access it ! 


Even Though the ‘Extract Ground’ command moved to the aerial photogrammetry module, we can extract our ground using the ‘Classify Regions’ command. With your point cloud selected, simply navigate to the classify regions command and here we have the option to automatically classify the regions of Buildings, High vegetation, poles and signs, power lines and ground




So what is the difference between extracting ground and extracting the point cloud region of ground ? Nothing ! 


In terms of algorithms used behind the scenes, the two commands share the same code and output equivalent results ! 


For more information, check out the product bulletin !


If you do have the aerial photogrammetry module and wanted to have the ‘Extract Ground’ command in your point clouds tab, you may use the ‘Customize Ribbon’ command 



Hope this tip comes in handy the next time you are using Trimble Business Center ! 

Good afternoon TBC’ers! Have you ever wanted to flatten vegetation in a surface that you created to generate a clearer view of the ground surface? Well, the new flatten surface command in TBC version 5.30 removes outlying vertices from a surface. To navigate to the new flatten surface command, navigate to the surfaces ribbon in TBC, and select “flatten surface” under edit: 

In the flatten surface command pane, select the surface you want to flatten from the surface drop-down list. Enter a number in the tolerance field to specify the distance beyond which vertices will be considered outliers and removed when compared to neighboring vertices. Next, select a remove direction option to specify whether to remove outlier vertices extending upwards or downwards. If necessary, you can limit the removal of outlying vertices to a specific area of your surface by checking the “use boundary” box. A boundary can be created with the create rectangle or polygon tool. Check the “create new surface” box to keep your original surface unchanged, and to produce a new surface with the flatten surface command applied. Lastly, hit apply when you are satisfied with your input settings:


Since we checked the “create new surface” box, we can open the view filter manager to look at our results. The new surface has the same name as the original surface, but with a “_flatten” tagged onto the end:

Since the command is looking for outliers, large areas of spikes, such as trees, might be too large to completely flatten your surface the first time around. Running the command iteratively will eventually all outliers from the surface as seen below:


Hope this tip comes in handy next time you open a TBC project!